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This rugged tape recorder could be the ultimate cloud storage beater

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OWC Mercury Pro LTO - $4,499.00 direct
(roughly £3,500/AU$6,300)
This LTO-8 tape drive from OWC has a few handy features that helps it stand out from the competition, including a Thunderbolt-3 port for added connectivity options. Check it out!

While we are awaiting the arrival of the first LTO-9 tapes, US-based OWC has unveiled an LTO-8 tape drive called the Mercury Pro LTO - and it stands out for a number of reasons.

It is one of the few that is equipped with a Thunderbolt-3 port (two actually) and can even charge a laptop (up to 85W) and connect to an 8K monitor or docking station.

For comparison, the competition tends to have an SAS (serial-attached SCSI) interface, which is popular in enterprise and large businesses but not amongst prosumers.

There’s also a useful staging feature that allows you to add an SSD or HDD of your own to enhance your workflow and for extra backup capacity.

Speaking of capacity, each tape offers a native capacity of 12TB with 30TB compressed storage (using an industry-wide standard compression ratio of 2.5:1). Native transfer rates can reach 360MBps native or up to 900MBps compressed. And as for pricing, you can get LTO-8 tapes for less than $100.

The OWC Mercury Pro LTO tape drive retails for $4,499 (roughly £3,500/AU$6,300) without any staging drive, but with OWC’s myLTO software, a free LTO-8 tape and a cleaning tape.

It is significantly more expensive than comparable devices, but is worth the extra premium given the additional features it offers, such as a 5-year warranty and lifetime support.

OWC has confirmed that the drive should be upgradable to LTO-9, which offers 50% extra capacity and much higher sustained transfer rates, assuming the form factors and interfaces remain the same.

Bear in mind

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  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.